Zdzislaw Zykla vs. Ryszard and Barbara Jerominek

Rosenberg & Estis assumed representation in this nonpayment proceeding in Civil Court, Kings County as substitute counsel for the owners of 178 Freeman Street in Brooklyn. The proceeding sought to recover Apartment 1L on the grounds that the tenants, the former owners of the building, failed to pay a fair-market rent of $2,050 per month since 2015. Rosenberg & Estis member Adam Lindenbaum represents the current owners, who acquired the building from respondents in 2010 with a post-closing occupancy agreement that allowed respondents to stay in the apartment for five additional years at a monthly rent of $1,000, while also continuing to act as the building superintendent. The dispute arose as to whether the respondents are entitled to future renewal leases given their prior ownership, and if they are, what rent they are obligated to pay upon the expiration of the five-year period. The apartment had previously been registered as temporarily exempt, as "owner occupied," and has no rental history at DHCR. Upon being retained, the administrative department of Rosenberg & Estis filed a Request for Administrative Determination with DHCR seeking to determine whether the apartment is subject to rent regulation, and if so, the applicable legal rent. Mr. Lindenbaum thereafter moved to stay the nonpayment proceeding pending the outcome of the administrative proceeding at DHCR. Respondent argued that petitioner was "venue shopping." Nonetheless, Judge Julie Poley granted the motion for a stay, stating that "deference to special competence of DHCR should be given to decide the regulation of the apartment and the initial rent thereto, especially since it is already considering the application."

(Civil Court, Kings County, Decided August 11, 2017)
(Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. Team: Adam Lindenbaum and Meredith A. Ullman)